The Redwoods

The Redwoods

This past Thanksgiving Terri and I took a little trip down the Oregon Coast to Northern California.  It was a great trip.  We had three goals in mind.  First, we wanted to ‘get out of Dodge’ so to speak and have some fun just being us.  Success!!

The second goal was to make our way to Fort Bragg, the southern point of our journey.  Why?  Fort Bragg has famous sea glass beaches.  When I initially saw the pictures of these beaches I thought they were photo shopped.  No!  They are for real!  It seems that Fort Bragg was severely damages as a town by the same earthquake that nearly destroyed San Francisco in 1906.  When the town determined to rebuild, they simply pushed the remains of the old town off the cliff into the ocean.  As it is prone to do, the ocean pulled all the light stuff like the wood, the paper, etc., and dispersed it to wherever the currents would take it.  But the not so floatable  items such as glass and porcelain staid close, were broken up and sanded down by the pounding of the waves, and pushed back onto shore thus making sea glass.  The beaches glimmer with the beauty of that glass.  We have a few piece to prove the ocean’s effectiveness.

The third goal for our Thanksgiving trip was to see the redwoods.  It had been a long time since I had observed their beauty.  It was a first for Terri.  Now that I think about it, beauty may not be the best word.  It certainly does apply to these magnificent trees.  Other words might as well.  Majesty.  Magnificent.  Awe inspiring. Jaw dropping.  Stunning. Silencing. Big. Tall. Those words also apply to what we saw as we drove and walked through these natural wonders.

Here are a few facts for those of you who have never been to Redwoods National Park.

  1. As old as the dinosaurs — almost
    The earliest redwoods showed up on Earth shortly after the dinosaurs—and before flowers, birds, spiders… and, of course, humans. Redwoods have been around for about 240 million years, compared to about 200,000 years for “modern” humans.
  2. See 2,000-year-old redwoods here?
    Officially, the oldest living coast redwood is at least 2,200 years old, but foresters believe some coast redwoods may be much older.
  3. Tallest tree on Earth
    Your local coast redwood tree can grow to 300 feet or more—the tallest tree on Earth. Right now, there are about 50 redwood trees taller than 360 feet living along the Pacific Coast. 
  4. Shallow but broad root systems. The root system is only 6 to 12 feet deep. Redwoods create the strength to withstand powerful winds and floods by extending their roots more than 50 feet from the trunk and living in groves where their roots can intertwine.
  5. Here and only here
    Coast redwoods grow only one place on Earth—on the Pacific Coast, from Big Sur to southern Oregon.
  6. Climate change heroes
    Trees are crucial to maintaining a stable, human-friendly climate. Studies show that coast redwoods capture more carbon dioxide (CO2) from our cars, trucks and power plants than any other tree on Earth. So, by protecting our local redwood forests, we make a major contribution toward stabilizing the global climate. If these redwood trees are overcut, burned or degraded, the climate is harmed two ways: (1) by losing the trees’ power to capture CO2, and (2) by releasing enormous amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere. (Globally, deforestation and other destructive land use account for nearly 25% of CO2 emissions.) Keep in mind that as the climate changes, the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains are one of very few areas that can provide a refuge for plants and animals to survive, because the area has many microclimates, is cooled by coastal summertime fog and is still largely unpaved.
  7. Sturdy survivors
    Redwoods live so long—and are treasured by humans for building—because they are extremely resistant to insects, fire and rot. At one time, San Francisco’s building codes required redwood lumber to be used in the foundations of new structures. A redwood’s bark can be 1 foot thick, and it contains tannin, which protects the tree from fire, insects, fungus and diseases. There is no known insect that can destroy a redwood tree. Fire is not a big threat because the trunk is thick, there’s lots of water inside the tree, and the bark doesn’t have flammable resin like a pine tree does.

As many of you know, I tend to see life through ‘Christian Eyes.’  It is just the way I am.  So, as Terri and I wandered through the giant redwoods I saw images, metaphors, for Christian life.  Over these next blogs I am going to show a few pictures and the meaning I took from them.  I hope you will enjoy the thoughts.

Speaking of thoughts, here is one final one.  The early Christians talked about God communicating through two books.  The first one was the Bible.  We understand the Bible is the Word of God.  Historically we have called it The Holy Bible.  It is the number one best seller of all time.  In the West most people have one…or two…or three…  Tragically it is often the least read book of all time as well.


book the ancients believed revealed God to human beings was nature.  David so beautifully proclaimed:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.        Psalm 19:1-4a (NIV)

I am grateful for any and all ways by which we can enter into a knowledge of and relationship with the life-giving God.